EuropeBoys soccer preview
Everyone wants to knock off Ramstein, Naples and Sigonella
Stars and Stripes March 16, 2023
Ramstein, Naples and Sigonella enter this spring with targets on their backs.
And they know it.
Whether those three schools can beat out the rest on the soccer fields in 2023 remains to be seen, and plenty of contenders anticipate being in the mix when they meet in the Kaiserslautern Military Community on May 15-17.
Here’s a look at the boys soccer landscape this spring based on responses from coaches across Europe:
The Lions have experienced a bit of an overhaul this offseason, with seven players coming back in 2023.
But coach Mike Miano sees some positives this spring – specifically that the new players will add depth his squad lacked last season.
A trio of seniors lead the returners in central midfielder Ronnie Macauley, goalkeeper Ethan Larregui and left back Andre Sperber. Junior Nathan Goldsmith adds some defensive might in midfield, and sophomores Santo Aponte, Kyle Shaddrick and Ben Gallei add width at right wing, left back and right back, respectively.
Of the new players, five are seniors – right back Christiano Giannessi, center back Fred Mitchell, left midfielder Nico Sava, left back Colin Scharfenstine and central midfielder Ottavio Volanti. Joining are another six juniors – forward Christian Barone, central midfielders Lucas Czapansky and Oscar Sanchez, left back Nik Fulde, right winger Jens Muller and right back Anthony Romar.
American Overseas School of Rome
The Falcons make no qualms about gunning for the DODEA Division II title every year, and this spring, that goal is no different.
Coach Giacomo Castelli called this team a “great group” with new players who integrate well with the returning core from last year’s runner-up squad and into AOSR’s playing system.
Nine players are coming back for the Falcons in 2023. They are Aurelian Berthet, Seamus Burges-Sims, Nicholas Duggan, Zane El Kilany, Edward Ferretti, Gabriele Ghione, Nicolo Giuffrida, Maxwell Irby and Mario Palladino.
Added to them is a group of 15 new players who not only round out the starting lineup but also give AOSR some depth.
The Buccaneers enter 2023 with a new coach but a similar situation, as they will be co-ed again.
New manager Jeremy Taylor will bank on the experience returning for Baumholder. That includes two seniors in forward Jesse Bogan and midfielder Jonathan Kimuli and three sophomores in fullback Ashlyn Brech, goalkeeper Trevor Cheney and forward George Corbin.
The newcomers also bring youth with them. Outside of juniors Emery Smith (fullback) and Gabby Williams (midfielder), the rest are underclassmen. Of them, four – center backs Austin Engle, Aziz Kurt and Elijah Washington and forward Samuel Senatus – are sophomores and two – center backs Jason Danso and Aaliyah Mikkelson – are freshmen.
Black Forest Academy
The Falcons are a senior-heavy and tight-knit group, according to coach Isaac Micheals.
The nine-year mentor hopes that can lead to more success than their fourth-place finish in Division I last year.
Leading the way are 11 returners – keeper Kaleb Knoeker; defenders Kody Mishler, Isaiah Atikins and Jesse Lee; midfielders J.J. Tice, Luke Choi, Sun Oh and Jacob Lee; and forwards Victor Kim, Cooper Swain and Dima Kastrubin.
New to the squad are seniors Egor Gerber and Marcel Sultanov, junior Sam Crooks and Sophomore Tim Sivonen.
The Brigands may have finished second in the Division III tournament last season, but they have had a lot of turnover heading into this spring.
Gone to retirement is coach Bill Scofield, and stepping into the technical area is Andrew Langenstein, who coached the gridiron football team to glory in the fall. He takes over a co-ed team with few returners.
The good news is Brussels has back its top scorer, junior Cade Wedekind. Also returning are two other seniors starters in Ezra De Leon Kona and center back Matej Marinkovic.
After that, the Brigands will turn to a group of seven freshmen and other newcomers.
Dirk Lambertson has good and bad news heading into the 2023 campaign.
The bad: The Wildcats lost their top scorer, both starting center backs and the goalkeeper from the 2022 team that took the 2022 European Division II crown.
The good: Nine from that championship squad are back, including six starters. Naples also get back tournament MVP Henri Schneider, who, along with Sammy Stutzman, Alex Hermanson and Thomas Albright, makes up a strong midfield. Also returning are all-tournament selection Joaquin Villescas, who tried out for Napoli’s U-17 team this spring, at wing and Thomas Egan at fullback.
Another bit of good news for the Wildcats is two of the lost pieces – keeper and one center back spot – will be filled by transfers. After that, Lambertson said Naples will look to some of the younger players to step up.
The Royals defended their way to a Division I title last spring, and they will be looking to do the same this season.
Coach Dominik Ludes has plenty of returners for the title defense. Ramstein can turn to Maxim Speed (whose corner led to the championship-winning goal), River Rocha, Rhys Francisco, Caio Anderson, Jayden Andrews, Mathias Bailey, Tyler Braun, Jaden Guerra, Colton Lucas, Kyle Mecsko, Jace Monson, Xavier Olivas, Favian Pierre-Louis, Andrew Soto and Kelan Vaughn.
Newcomers are Aiden Davis, Kerian Goodall, Santiago Idarraga, Brendan Stuever and Kai Woodstock.
Although the Admirals had a large portion of the 2022 team graduate, coach Desiree Romero said she is confident they will be competitive this spring.
Among the returners are Jamie Troxel, Kenjiro Kozono, Anthony Romero, Anthony Dominguez, Henry Lockwood, Tyler DeMeritt, Zeppelin Hasselbring, Andrew Doxey, Grant Sturgeon, Terrean Pittman and Christian Weaver.
New to the roster are Christian Suarez, Parker Mueller, Daniel Guido, Robert Jordan, Ian Fleming, Jackson Warkentien, Peter Lavery and Steven Camacho.
Coach James Cerf points to collaboration as being key to the Spartans’ success on the soccer season, and he has his sights set on bringing home the trophy this spring.
To do that, he will turn to those with experience, such as Alexandru Chesaru, Gabrier Cotto, Jamie Munoz-Delgado Bernal, Enrique Jorquera, Georg Kokka, Lorenzo Lai, Evan Torrente de la Pisa and Eduardo Torrente de la Pisa.
To go with the returners, SHAPE will count on 17 newcomers to fill out the roster.
The Jaguars are used to cutting their teeth against the best Division II has to offer before heading into the Division III tournament.
Sigonella hopes the schedule will prepare it for the postseason this year, as the defending Division III champion lost six starters to graduation. Among the departed are tournament MVP Jeremy Reardon, most of the defense and the goalkeeper.
The Jaguars still have plenty of firepower coming back, starting with all-tournament selection and leading scorer Tim Garcia. Gabe Naselli had six goals last year, while the midfield and defensive anchors in Alessandro Montero and Bruce Gale, respectively, are back.
Joining that core are Danish players Chris and Sebastian Hedemond, Polish player Mikolaj Czernielewski and Spanish freshman Javier Fernandez. Another four freshmen round out the roster.
Nathan Garrett watched the Panthers fall short late in the Division I championship game against Ramstein.
The first-year coach can tell those coming back this spring have unfinished business, and he hopes the changes he brings will help that cause. Garrett said to expect the Panthers to be strong in the middle and to focus on controlling the ball.
To do so, Stuttgart will turn to five senior returners, mostly in midfield and at keeper. Three junior returners will help anchor the defense, and the Panthers have 12 underclassmen with skill, according to Garrett.
The Warriors are another team chasing the Royals in the 2023, and coach Roberto Eiseman has many reasons for optimism.
Much of the core from last year’s third-place finisher is back, starting with a pair of goalkeepers in Evan Cook and Patrick Iverson. In defense, Wiesbaden can turn to Adam Gomes, Ante Dugandzic, Nick Truchon and Michael Friel. Noah Lee is the lone midfielder back, while the Warriors have Asher Anderson, Collin Koschnik, Jacob Goodman and Zane Zangana in attack.
Two defenders in Damien Messineo and DeSean Marshall are expected to make the jump from the JV squad, defender Gabriel Dawson and midfielder Sean Heeter transferred in this year, and Robbie Dugandzic enters as a freshman.